Continuing our series of blogs covering the best ways to save money while using your mobile abroad, we look to Latin and South America. Like the rest of the world, South America can prove to be an expensive place to use your phone without taking some precautions or following some smart advice. As you no doubt know, making calls, sending texts and surfing the net can wallop your phone bill at the best of times at home. But abroad? It can be a real nightmare. Here’s some of our top advice on saving as many Pesos as possible on your Peruvian peregrination…
Get an ‘Explorer SIM card’
If you’re planning on travelling around quite a few countries while you’re on the continent, an Explorer SIM is probably your best bet. It’s a prepaid card that you load up as you would with a pay-as-you-go SIM back in this country. So you’ll never be able to go over your budget. If you’re travelling in Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, wherever, it doesn’t matter – your SIM will just search for the best local network coverage. Incoming calls are free, outgoing texts are only $0.40 US Dollars and all SMS’ received are free too.
Get a normal SIM
If you’re planning on just visiting one country, a local SIM might be a clever purchase. Load it up with cash and away you go… Don’t forget you’ll be working off a different number, so don’t expect too many calls or texts!
If you decide to take your own phone south of the Mexico border, beware that it might not work. You see, mobile phones have different frequencies and minimum frequency requirements in each continent. Most phones in the UK and Europe are what’s known as ‘dual band’. Which is fine for roaming across France, Italy, etc. Head to Japan or South Korea and you’ll need a 3G-enabled phone. Head to South America and it has to be ‘tri-band’. If you’re unsure what frequency you have, contact your network provider or phone manufacturer. If you’re dual, you can still take your SIM and get a handset once you’ve reached your destination.
Extortionate roaming prices have long been a massive bugbear for travellers. Phone companies know you’ve little alternative but to pay the high prices they set. However, increasing competition and pricing regulations imposed by governments across the globe mean that caps are being set and maximum pricing structures starting to be put in place. Hopefully the days of being ripped off when using your phone in South America (and indeed the rest of the world) are nearly over.
The increasing globalisation of business means that companies can’t afford to have their employees trotting the globe racking up massive bills. Because of this, massive corporate enterprises are lobbying governments across the world to drive down roaming costs.
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